Ben HaywardNovember 18th
2020

Oxford University students have voted to ban beef and lamb at campus canteens. 

The students' union passed the motion by a two-thirds majority after it was put forward at the weekly student council meeting.

The decision was reached based on the environmental impact of meat, as it generates high climate emissions which disproportionately affect developing countries and is part of the university's sustainability drive, which is aiming to cut its carbon emissions in half by 2030.

Although the union itself exists only to represent students in the university’s decision-making processes - meaning it cannot actively change or enforce university policy - its executives now have the task of lobbying Oxford to introduce the beef and lamb ban across campus.

The motion said: "As the UK's premier university, the nation looks to Oxford for leadership, but Oxford has shown a lack of leadership in addressing climate change.

"The banning of beef and lamb at university-catered events and outlets is a feasible and effective strategy to help the university meet its revised 2030 goal.

“A change at the university level will open the gates for similar change at the college level.

"The university has a commitment to anti-racism, and this requires urgent action to minimise greenhouse emissions.”

It should be noted that the motion does not however affect the university’s individual colleges, as these are treated separately and must decide on their stance individually.

The motion, which was written by Vihan Jain, Daniel Grimmer, and Agatha Edevane, passed with 31 votes for and nine against, with 13 having abstained from voting.

Ben Farmer, representing charities and the community at the Oxford Students' Union, said: "I welcome the mandate to engage the university on this important issue.

"It is important to recognise that food-based changes may not be possible for every student or staff member at the university.

"Further, food-based changes are just one part of changes we'd like to see the university make to tackle the climate crisis."

If the university does change its policy, it would be following in the footsteps of other high profile other including Cambridge University and Goldsmiths University in south-east London, that have already banned beef from their campuses.

Don’t forget to check out TOTUM’s Sustainability category for all sorts of great ideas on how to save money as well as the planet!

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